England vs New Zealand: Darryl Mitchell Stars for New Zealand as England Eye Second Test Fightback

Daryl Mitchell hit a brilliant 190 as New Zealand scored 553 before England began their comeback on free-scoring on the second day of the second Test at Trent Bridge.

Taking advantage of the humble pitch and weak England bowling, Mitchell made his way to his highest Test score.

Tom Blundell made 106 runs in a 236-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Mitchell.

New Zealand Test debutant Michael Bracewell scored a quick 49 as New Zealand took control of their bid to level the three-Test series after a five-wicket loss at Lord’s.

After losing Zak Crowley early in their reply, England came back impressively as Ollie Pope (51 not out) and Alex Lees (34 not out) drew them to a 90–1 close.

It was Mitchell’s day until the travelman with a short Test pedigree continued to capitalize on his chances in this series.

Six years ago, Mitchell played a season for Blackpool in the Northern Premier League and scored just two centuries.

The 31-year-old batsman reached England with just one Test century since the start of 2019 but now has three after his 108 at Lord’s.

Mitchell’s latest century came in 318 balls, which included 23 fours and four sixes, after England left him to reach his century for the second time in the match.

New Zealand showed why they are Test world champions, ruthlessly pressing home on Friday after scoring 318-4.

England pacer James Anderson defended Ben Stokes’ decision to bowl first, saying the players backed his captain’s “offensive” call.

Anderson’s belief was proved wrong as England performed as poorly as Friday, conceding three catches and another close call that did not involve two slip fielders.

– Michelle Masterclass –

Mitchell, who had scored 81 on Friday after being dropped for three by Joe Root, went within touching distance of his ton after pulling a short delivery from Anderson for a crunching four.

Surviving a lbw appeal from Matthew Potts, Mitchell completed his century with a brilliant lead off the England seamer.

If he had an odd way of reaching a century, it was out of character along with the rest of Mitchell’s classy innings.

As he did on Friday, Mitchell played aggressively against spinner Jack Leach, but at 104, he rode his luck with a lofty blow, which was dropped by Potts as it trickled over the boundary.

Blundell bowled a single off Leach to complete his third Test century in 191 balls, but he was dismissed when Leach dismissed Stokes at mid-off.

Bracewell showed no sign of stage fright as he repeatedly slammed Potts over the boundary before it rained and provided a merciful break for England.

When play resumed, Anderson inspired a lead from Bracewell and Root took the catch, ending a sixth-wicket partnership of 91 runs.

It exposed New Zealand’s tail and Stuart Broad dismissed Kyle Jamieson (14) and Tim Southee (4) in the same over.

Trent Boult made some scintillating strikes for the last wicket of 33 before Mitchell was caught behind pots.

New Zealand’s mammoth total was his highest ever in England, beating his 551-9 declared in 1973.

After watching New Zealand’s batting for almost two days, Crowley remained on just six balls.

Boult produced a beautiful piece of seam bowling that left Crowley in two minds as it slid off the edge and was caught by Blundell to leave England 6-1 behind.

The fielding crisis that plagued England also troubled New Zealand when Lees was dropped for 12 by Mitchell off Southee.

Pope calmed England’s nerves with an attack on Matt Henry that included two brilliant boundaries and a top six.

Mitchell had the advantage from England’s drops, but was returning the favour, dropping Pope to 37 off Boult’s edge.

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